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Cut Copy: Dancing for Shalom?

Friday, September 23, 2011

A response to the Cut Copy concert by SAO student worker, Jacqueline Ristola:

Today I discovered I had a body, and it can dance. I had never been to a concert where I danced before; the closest I ever got was some casual swaying at the end of the Civil Wars’ concert last year. But last night I saw Cut Copy, Washed Out, and Midnight Magic. My feet are sore, my ears are ringing, and my soul is refreshed. This makes last night’s concert sound remarkable, and indeed it was. And yes, it was completely pop music, through and through. But it was genuine, passionate, and joyful; qualities in music that are sometimes hard to find.

Authentic is a word that can be thrown around a lot when talking about music; often heralding indie/alternative music as real expression than mainstream pop. But authenticity is a quality that is easy to identify when you see it, and it was unabashedly present last night. Some may scoff and say “But it’s simple pop music! How can that be authentic?”  Such an accusation is likely due to the negative connotations pop music has acquired over the years. Today’s pop music scene often feels manufactured and manipulative, making bands like Cut Copy such a breath of fresh air. Their intentions were clear; they wanted us to listen pleasurably, dance joyfully, and feel the music.

What made this concert different? Why was the music so affecting? Perhaps all these questions can be answered when put back into the context of live performance. There is a raw energy given to live performances that recordings can never have; that of physical presence of the artist in communication with the audience. After all, bands aren’t the only ones performing: the audience communicates as well, not just through applause or even dancing. Audiences are always communicating and responding in a live show, whether it be thunderous applause, thoughtful silence, or joyful dance.

The Cut Copy set in particular is a great example of the communication between an audience and an artist. The final song, “Need You Now” was perfect communication, the audience and the band singing together, and with outstretched arms, performing the very longing expressed in the song.  That is something incredibly powerful and moving that you can never experience outside of the live performance. Throughout the night, both band and audience communicate back and forth through movement and sound. While being fantastically entertaining, it created joyful, aesthetically beautiful communication.

The show proves why live music is the best way to engage with music; you don’t just listen, but you experience it. You literally feel the beat pulsing within you and music surrounding you, making the live performance a much more sensual experience. And although recordings can capture technical quality, they can’t capture the relationship between the audience and the performer or the physicality of the communication. Truly live performance’s raw power is evident; it’s sensually engaging, artistically communicative, and ultimately temporal. Impossible to replicate, they are something special to savor. So I hold my aching body in pride (I danced barefoot!), proof that something amazing happened last night, achieving not only fantastic artistic entertainment, but the essence of shalom.

What did you think of the concert and Jacqueline’s response?


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1 comment on "Cut Copy: Dancing for Shalom?"
  • “And yes, it was completely pop music, through and through.”

    We must have different definitions of pop music. Many, MANY Cut Copy songs, especially those off their 2nd album, are not so “simple”. The dance-ability of the tracks on first or second listen is coincidental… Upon further listening, I found a deep, layered band that often took four minutes to build and release. The magic of Cut Copy lies only partially in their ability to make the random concertgoers dance. The rest, I think, is exemplified when the bass beat in ‘Out There on the Ice’ quits 3/4 the way through the song or during the soft bells melody at the end of ‘So Haunted’.

    I’ve seen the notion all over the internet, “Cut Copy is pop, but it’s different! It’s good!” Perhaps Cut Copy aren’t only trying to simply write music that makes you dance one night a year? Maybe there’s something more there?

    Anyways, I had bought tickets to the Chicago show on Tuesday night and was planning to drive there and back on a school night(I’ve been waiting for 3 years!). When I read about the CFAC show I was in utter shock. I was elated at first, but then I faced it: this show would probably be the same as most other shows I’ve seen at Calvin/Ladies Lit-Seat room only. Needless to say my initial shock returned when I saw the orchestra pit lowered ( to never rise again! :D ). Thanks _so much_, SAO, for the proper setup.

    Incredible show, everything I hoped for and more (except the lack of ‘Out There on the Ice’ :( ) I won’t soon forget all the dancing people on the sides of the stage, the trampoline of a standing area, and Dan handing me the setlist at the end.

    Thanks again.

    Posted by Ross Cooper on 09/23 at 03:36 PM